Competitive Interests

cover art
208 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781589017795 (158901779X)

August 2011
LC: 2011004082

American Governance and Public Policy series


Table of Contents
Press Release

Competitive Interests
Competition and Compromise in American Interest Group Politics
Thomas T. Holyoke

Competitive Interests does more than simply challenge the long-held belief that a small set of interests control large domains of the public policy making landscape. It shows how the explosion in the sheer number of new groups, and the broad range of ideological demands they advocate, have created a form of group politics emphasizing compromise as much as conflict. Thomas T. Holyoke offers a model of strategic lobbying that shows why some group lobbyists feel compelled to fight stronger, wealthier groups even when they know they will lose.

Holyoke interviewed 83 lobbyists who have been advocates on several contentious issues, including Arctic oil drilling, environmental conservation, regulating genetically modified foods, money laundering, and bankruptcy reform. He offers answers about what kinds of policies are more likely to lead to intense competition and what kinds of interest groups have an advantage in protracted conflicts. He also discusses the negative consequences of group competition, such as legislative gridlock, and discusses what lawmakers can do to steer interest groups toward compromise. The book concludes with an exploration of greater group competition, conflict, and compromise and what consequences this could have for policymaking in a representation-based political system.

Thomas T. Holyoke is an associate professor of political science at California State University, Fresno.

Gerard W. Boychuk, Karen Mossberger, and Mark C. Rom, Series Editors
"This book is an impressive addition to the contemporary interest-group literature. It is well worth reading by the broader audience interested in American lawmaking and policy dynamics."—Perspectives on Politics

"Holyoke provides an important contribution to scholarship of group politics by bringing together literatures addressing collective action and legislative lobbying. Doing so yields important insight regarding the potentially competing incentives lobbyists may face."—Choice

"Offers a compelling new argument about how lobbyists pragmatically balance the push and pull from their client-principles and their lawmaker-allies….Overall, interest group scholars will surely find themselves nodding their heads at Holyoke's logic and findings. So too will lobbying practitioners who care to step back to see the forest for the trees."—Political Science Quarterly

"Holyoke extends previous work and builds new lines of thought that future scholars will certainly explore."—Choice

"Holyoke's book is an innovative and robustly analytical, yet realistic, look at lobbying in the proper context—in the presence of competing lobbyists. Its carefully drawn conclusions are enlightening and important both for those who study interest group behavior and for those concerned about the effectiveness and legitimacy of American lawmaking."—Amy McKay, Georgia State University

"In Competitive Interests, Thomas Holyoke shines light on an important and often misunderstood topic—interest group competition. Holyoke dissects the topic and uses new data drawn from across a variety of policy topics to produce a critical contribution to interest group scholarship."—Susan Webb Yackee, associate professor of public affairs and political science, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Thomas Holyoke has written the book on interest group competition in the United States. Theoretically driven and empirically rich, this book contributes to interest group scholarship in too many ways to count. It is an essential part of the interest group canon."—Anthony J. Nownes, professor of political science, University of Tennessee

Table of Contents

Part I: Causes of Interest Group Competition
1. Competition and Interest Group Politics
2. The Competitive Model
3. Studying Contentious Policies
4. An Empirical Analysis of Group Competition

Part II: Consequences of Interest Group Competition
5. Competition in Coalition Politics
6. Institutional Constraints on Lobbyist Conflict
7. Competition and Gridlock
8. Competitive Interest Groups and Deliberative Democracy

Appendix 1 Appendix to Chapter 3
Appendix 2 Appendix to Chapter 4